Cote d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast. In 2000, UNICEF estimated that 40 percent of children between 5 and 14 worked. Child labor has been linked to cocoa, cotton, corn, rice, and pineapples, as well as mining and child prostitution.

Nestle Audit Finds Child Labor Violations in Cocoa Supply


By Dermot Doherty and Stanley James – Jun 29, 2012 9:51 AM ET [from Bloomberg]

Nestle SA (NESN) needs to step up measures to combat child labor in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry, according to a study requested by the Swiss food company that found “numerous” violations of its internal work rules.

The maker of KitKat chocolate bars needs to improve internal monitoring to fight the practice as four-fifths of its cocoa comes from channels for which information on labor is opaque, the Fair Labor Association said in a report. Nestle plans new monitoring programs in two cooperatives this year and in 30 by 2016, with the FLA assessing progress, the Vevey, Switzerland-based company said in a response.

Nestle buys about a 10th of the global cocoa production and more than a third of that comes from the Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer. About 20 percent of the cocoa the chocolate maker gets from that country can be traced because it comes from Nestle’s sustainable-farming program, while the rest comes from the “standard” supply chain, which isn’t transparent, according to the report.

“Child labor is a more persistent problem than anybody believed,” FLA President Auret van Heerden said by phone. “What we’re talking about is changing the way companies in the industry do business, and Nestle has taken the first step.”

About 89 percent of Ivory Coast children were involved in growing cocoa, according to a 2008 government survey.

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New Attention Given to Child Cocoa Workers in Ivory Coast and Ghana

25 October 2010
Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast
Photo: AP

Children living in a cocoa-producing village near the town of Oume, Ivory Coast

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This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, and more than half of those beans come from two countries in West Africa. But the situation is not all sweetness for poor cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and neighboring Ghana. The United States has announced ten million dollars for renewed efforts to end the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa industry in those countries.

The grant will support efforts to reduce poverty so parents do not have to depend on the labor of their children. Another aim is to give children more access to education.

The money will go toward a new “Framework of Action” related to an international agreement from two thousand one. That agreement is called the Harkin-Engel Protocol. American Senator Tom Harkin and Representative Elliott Engel led negotiations with the chocolate and cocoa industries.

The Department of Labor announced the grant in September, along with seven million dollars promised by the international cocoa industry. The governments of Ghana and Ivory Coast have also promised resources and policy support for the new efforts.

Kevin Willcutts is an official in the Labor Department’s Office of Child Labor.

KEVIN WILLCUTTS: “We’re at a point in time when we think we have a real opportunity because with the signing of this joint declaration, the parties are coming together and saying that we share a common commitment to address the situation and to offer children better hope for the future through education.”… Read the rest

Tulane Report Focuses Attention on Child Labor in Cocoa Industry

The Payson Center’s Report can be downloaded here: http://childlabor-payson.org–Reid]

West African children still exploited to make chocolate

By Marco Chown Oved
Associated Press
Updated: 10/08/2010 09:06:06 AM CDT

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast — West Africa’s cocoa industry is still trafficking children and using forced child labor despite nearly a decade of efforts to eliminate the practices, according to an independent audit published by Tulane University.

A U.S.-sponsored solution called the Harkin-Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by cocoa industry members to identify and eliminate cocoa grown using forced child labor. A child-labor-free certification process was supposed to cover 50 percent of cocoa growing regions in West Africa by 2005 and 100 percent by the end of 2010. But independent auditors at Tulane University’s Payson Center for International Development said in a late September report that efforts have not even come close to these targets.

“Hundreds of thousands of children are involved in work on cocoa farms,” the report said. Child trafficking for labor also continues virtually unabated as well, it said.

Thousands of children travel from impoverished neighboring countries to the cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, where some of them live in substandard conditions and receive little or no pay.

Research in border areas shows that only a tiny proportion of children in cocoa farming ever see a police officer on their way over the border, and that police officers are not properly trained to deal with such crossings. Almost none of the children have any contact with NGOs or anti-child-labor organizations while working.

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Governments Look to End Child Labor in West African Cocoa Farming

Malian children demonstrate against child labor in Sikasso, Mali. Sikasso is the point of departure for children going to work in the Ivorian cocoa,
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